Cystic fibrosis (CF) patients have an alteration in fatty acid (FA) metabolism, associated with increased omega-6 and low omega-3 FA. Previous studies on supplementation with omega-3 FA in CF had contradictory results, and to date there is no evidence to recommend routine use of omega-3 supplements in CF patients. We hypothesized that long-term supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) will have beneficial effects in these patients, by reducing pulmonary, systemic and intestinal inflammation.
This was a randomized, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled trial. CF patients (age >2 months) were randomized to receive a seaweed DHA oil solution (50 mg/Kg/day) or matching placebo for 48 weeks. Primary outcomes were pulmonary (interleukin [IL]-8), systemic (IL-8) and intestinal (calprotectin) inflammatory biomarkers. Secondary outcomes included other pulmonary (IL-1β, IL-6, neutrophil elastase, lactate and calprotectin) and systemic (serum-IL-1β, IL-6) inflammatory biomarkers, as well as clinical outcomes (FEV, pulmonary exacerbations, antibiotic use, nutritional status and quality of life).
Ninety six CF patients, 44 female, age 14.6±11.9 years (48 DHA and 48 placebo) were included. At trial completion, there were no differences in all primary outcomes [serum-IL-8 (p=0.909), respiratory-IL-8 (p=0.384) or fecal calprotectin (p=0.948)], all secondary inflammatory biomarkers, or in any of the clinical outcomes evaluated. There were few adverse events, with similar incidence in both study groups.
In this study, long-term DHA supplementation in CF patients was safe, but did not offer any benefit on inflammatory biomarkers, or in clinical outcomes compared with placebo. (NCT01783613).

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